Saturday, September 7, 2013

DR Congo: ICGLR predictable opts for Batshit Crazy

New Vision ( Uganda ) reports

Leaders resolve to resume Congo peace talks
By Raymond Baguma

Left-right: DR Congo Ambassador to Uganda Charles Okoto, N Tshishim and Defence chief Didier Etumba listen to vice Prime minister Luba Tambo during the morning session of the International Conference of Great Lakes Region held at Speke Resort in Munyonyo, Kampala on September 5, 2013. PHOTO/Kennedy Oryema

Regional leaders have directed that peace negotiations between the M23 rebels and the Government of Congo should resume as a way of ending fighting in eastern DR Congo.

This was in a declaration made at the end of an emergency meeting called by President Yoweri Museveni in his capacity as the chairperson of the regional body, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
The meeting was attended by the four other regional Presidents Joseph Kabila (DR Congo), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania). Also present were Mary Robinson the UN special envoy to the Great Lakes region and Dlamini Zuma the chairperson of the African Union Commission.

I have no idea why Kabila bothered to attend this meeting. The way I read this situation is that there is no peace deal possible with M23.  The original negotiations included a provision for the M23  rebels to rejoin ( or join in the case of new M23 recruits I would guess ) the Congolese armed forces. There is no way that is going to happen now.  Alex Engwete in Kinshasa reports.

Gov. Paluku said:

"What we don't want to hear in Goma [coming from Kampala] is anything that has to do with ceasefire, anything that has to do with cessation of hostilities!"



Adding:

"We've seen in the past how, each time there have been summits of Heads of state, they were asking to either the M23 or to the [DRC] government that each one keep positions they were holding. 

"I believe it's no longer today the business of a summit, be it of heads of state, to consecrate the de facto balkanization [of the DRC] by asking to the the [DRC] to leave to the M23 a given territory.

"We must ensure that the Kampala summit would force the M23 to lay down weapons and to have them let go of the areas they're occupying.

"We shouldn't be doing as if we mostly care about the M23 whereas we should be caring instead about the population that's suffering in IDPs' camps so as to truly be in line with the will of the people of North Kivu."

That sums up I suspect the feelings not only of the people of Goma but the entire Congolese population. 

The Presidents directed that the peace negotiations should resume within the three days after their Heads of State summit, and conclude within a maximum period of 14 days.

I am anticipating no change in Kinshasa position with regard to negotiations. There position may actually become more entrenched as it should given the situation on the ground. Kinshasa should actually be demanding an unconditional surrender by M23.  

They however stopped short of calling for a ceasefire to the fighting; and said that the region and the UN combat force will continue ‘exerting pressure’ on M23 and all other negative forces operating in DCR to ensure they stop war.
Some of the other negative groups operating in DRC include the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); as well as Burundian dissident group National Force of Liberation (FNL) and Rwandan Interahamwe Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
President Museveni invited other regional leaders to Kampala where they held a meeting to discuss the security situation following renewed fighting in the restive eastern DRC.

Remember this is the ICGLR not the UN Security Council. In short it none of the ICGLR bloody business. The force the Intervention Brigade and MONUSCO are in the DR Congo at the invitation of Kinshasa. The ICGLR is welcome to have an opinion but to think for even half a second that they have granted the force permission to continue to operate is a delusion. Mind you the makeup of the organisation is fairly deluded so perhaps that is no surprise. 

In his remarks, Museveni said, “Although fighting in Goma is more talked about, there are many areas of eastern Congo near our border which are infested by terrorist groups either from outside Congo or from within Congo. Next to our border (Uganda) for many years ADF has been terrorising people.”
Museveni added, “The dialogue has been going on in Kampala for many months. They have held discussion. A few parts were remaining...and with the dialogue we had today between the facilitator and President Kabila, if they are carried forward, we can get M23 to come out peacefully so that the UN intervention brigade deals with other forces.”

I very much doubt that. There is no dividend for the DR Congo in simply letting M23 get away with its crimes against humanity. Justice in this case must be seen to be done. The citizens of the Eastern DR Congo deserve nothing less than the destruction of M23. I agree that the other groups need to be tackled but what message is being sent to them if M23 is given a " get out of gaol " pass at this stage ? The choice for M23 is unconditional surrender or destruction. Anything less would be a failure and a failure that politically Kabila can't allow.    

Museveni also said that continental peace and stability has in the past been established in countries where African has worked together with the international community, citing past cases of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, and Guinea Bissau.

Not quite sure why South Africa is on that list and if Zimbabwe is being held up as an example then I am very afraid of Museveni's objectives in the Eastern DR Congo.

Robinson said, “The events of the last few days put to the test the commitments made by signatory countries under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.”

The agreement was signed on 24 February this year in Addis Ababa by leaders of 11 African countries of some of which include DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Burundi, Congo, Angola and Tanzania and pledged not to interfere in the affairs of their neighbours.

The leaders also condemned the recent bombings in the areas of Munigi and Goma in DRC which led the civilian injuries and deaths, including the deaths of a senior UN officer attached to the intervention brigade. The Presidents condemned bombings initiated from DRC into Rwanda which caused deaths of Rwandan nationals.

They directed the region’s Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) to investigate the two bombing incidents and report to the chairperson of the committee of ministers of defence as soon as the investigations are complete.

Also, the UN Stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) will have a representation on the EJVM and is expected to provide logistical support to facilitate the EJVM carry out its mandate.

They called on the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in eastern DR Congo and provide urgent assistance including relief aid in form of food, medicine and accommodation to the displaced people.
ICGLR as well as the South African Development Community (SADC) are to jointly organise a summit aimed to find a lasting solution to the DRC conflicts.

That the international community needs to be " called on " speaks volumes. We should have been there long ago.



3 comments:

  1. Unbelievable! This is the dumbest thing I have heard this year -- and every year before that.

    It is mind boggling that Kabila is trying again something that has failed miserably every single year for the past 20 years or so: negotiate with Kagame and Museveni's invasion armies.

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  2. I agree. M23 should be eliminated from the picture and the military solution while not acceptable to the " western liberal elites " who seem to think the situation can be solved by group therapy.
    The only peoples whose opinion counts are the Congolese. The world needs to listen to them and do what they want. We have failed the Congolese every time. Not this time.
    " Don't be blind this time "

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